Alan Blinder on the Biden Agenda

The Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy (CROWE) sponsored a series of talks on the election and economic issues. Yesterday’s talk was by Princeton’s Alan Blinder (former CEA member, former Fed Vice Chair). His talk with Q&A is here (YouTube).

Other visitors included Lee Ohanian, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Casey Mulligan and Brian Riedl (Manhattan Institute).

[Econbrowser on OhanianMulligan, and on Riedl.’

51 thoughts on “Alan Blinder on the Biden Agenda

      1. pgl

        “Blinder served as a member of President Clinton’s original Council of Economic Advisors and then went on to serve as Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System before returning to Princeton University”

        In other words, an economist that has a clue as opposed to the mental midgets like Lawrence Kudlow who kiss Trump’s rear end.

    1. pgl

      “featuring prominent economists”. OK – Blinder is an excellent economist. I do not know the woman on the panel but I’m sure she is very good. The other 3 strike me as the 3 stooges.

  1. Moses Herzog

    I wish very badly we had something comparable to CROWE in the state I reside in. Cheese-heads, meatpackers, and beer brewers—be thankful for your blessings. It was always my little fantasy that the small state university I went to would get guys like Blinder there to guest speak. We got 2 appearances on campus by Bill Clinton, but not too many appearances by A-list economists that I am aware of. If Prof Chinn ever appeared at the small Uni I went to I’d pay for Prof Chinn’s lunch if the University didn’t probably offer him a better one and he didn’t mind eating together with a socially awkward clod.

    Alan Blinder is a great economist, the co-author of the undergrad micro and macro textbooks I used in college. And another guy who makes me proud to be an American. If Blinder so desires a job in a new presidential administration, I hope he gets it. A great invite/nab by CROWE getting him to have a conversation there.

  2. Not Trampis

    the link on Ohanian does not work although I was surprised to learn James thinks the New Deal prolonged your depression

  3. Rick Stryker

    Menzie,

    I’m not sure why anybody would be interested in speculation about what a Biden Administration’s policies would look like. After all, the data are pretty clear that Donald Trump will be re-elected President of the United States.

    1. Barkley Rosser

      What “data,” Rick?

      I know that Hannity has a pollster or two who are saying that Trump might eke it out, but most polls show Trump substantially further behind Biden than he was behind Clinton four years ago, with then there being many undeicideds and people supporting third party candidates. Upshot was that she was never above 50% in the polls nationally, and undecideds broke heavily for Trump.

      This year Biden is consistently above 50% in the national polls and also consistently so in many of the crucial battelground states, with these results holding steadilyi for a long time, and very few undecideds out there. Also, evidence has been that undecideds are breaking for Biden this year rather than Trump. He was an unknown then, now he is known and seriousl disliked. Also, pollsters have fixed some biases they had four years ago, making the polls more reliable now than they were then.

      Bottom line is that he can still win, although it will probably take some dramatic unexpected event favoring him, perhaps from abroad. But his laptop play is going nowhere, and most new news seems not to be favoring him, from the rising tide of new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations to the revelation of his previously secret Chines bank account that his failure to report on his financial disclosure forms constitutes a felony.

      Yeah, 538 blew it last time, but they have him at 12% chance to win. Even they had him a good deal avbove that 4 years ago, even prior to the Comey release that happened on this day, the Friday 11 days before the election. Sorry, but that did not happen today, despite all his efforts at stacking the ONE and DOJ, etc.

      So, just what is this “data” again, that fool of a pollster Hannity is touting with his massive adjmjustments?

      1. 2slugbaits

        Barkley Rosser Don’t take Rick Stryker so seriously. I’m pretty sure that he’s just feeling a bit mischievous and ironic.

      2. Rick Stryker

        Barkley,

        2slugs is right that I was being mischievous. My reference to “the data are pretty clear” is an allusion that Menzie is well familiar with.

        However, I do believe that Trump is favored to win the election; I’d put the odds at about 60-65% Trump, 35-40% Biden. I won’t go through my reasons in detail, but here is an outline:

        –Trump polls below his true support; the shy Trump vote is very real
        –This is a base election with a smaller than usual fraction of undecideds. What matters is who shows up at the polls. Enthusiasm for Trump is much, much greater for Trump among his supporters than for Biden among his supporters
        –Support for Trump’s policies is greater than the percentage who say will vote for him, indicating that voters are held back by Trump’s personality and conduct. But what will voters actually do when they vote? In 2016, they chose policy over personality.
        –Trump is working much harder campaigning in person in crucial counties of the key swing states. Biden is not showing up.
        –Trump is looking good in Florida and NC and promising in Pennsylvania
        –The Trump campaign has registered many more new Republican voters in crucial swing states Penn and Florida than Biden has
        –Trump enjoys important legal advantages in a contested election
        1) Electoral Count Act of 1887 limits how long states can count votes
        2) Article II of the Constitution gives state legislatures the power to appoint electors and Republicans control state legislatures in 6 key battleground states
        3) Trump will win an election thrown to the House unless the House changes substantially on Nov 3
        4) Trump has the advantage in the Supreme Court which will adjudicate the legal issues in a contested election

        1. Barkley Rosser

          1) There are plenty of studies suggesting that the “shy Trump supporter” has largely ceased to exist now aht he is president.
          2) There are conflicting studies over voter enthusiasm. Turnout by early voters has been unprecedented and seems mostly be to be by Dems. Yes, maybe GOPsters will massively turn out on Election Day to overcome that, but Trump seems to be drawing out a whole lot of voters who did not vote in the past.
          3) Regarding policies, depends on the policy and which one people care about. Right now the policy at the top of peoples’ minds is how he has handled and what he proposes to do about the coronavirus pandemic, and on that one his approach and policies are massively unpopular, in case you have not noticed, Stryker.
          4) As for “working harder” this is a fantasy of foolish Trumpists that people are impressed that he is running around holding superspreader events in the country when that simply reminds most people how totally irresponsible he has been on his entire approach to the pandemic. Somehow Trump and some of his followers think it is impressive that he does not wear a mask when Biden does, when in fact this is the final nail in the coffin for Trump’s candidacy given how vast majorities of people agree with Biden on this and take this very seriously.
          5) While the race is close in Florida, where he might win, he is further back in both NC and PA, and almost certainly will lose AZ, which he won last time, and is not looking good at all in either MI or Wi, along with Biden being competitive in several other states Trump won last time, such as GA, OH, and IA, with Trump not being competitive at all in any state Clinton won last time, not one.

          I grant the other points, but they do not look like enough to make Trump’s chances anywhere near the 60% you and Moses Herzog are convinced of. I also note that most of those later items involve things most people do not support, such as using lawsuits to challenge counting late-arrived mail-in ballots.

          1. pgl

            You took his BS way too seriously but let’s note this:

            ‘he is running around holding superspreader events in the country when that simply reminds most people how totally irresponsible he has been on his entire approach to the pandemic’

            Would it be ironic if many of these MAGA hat wearing morons got the virus and could not make it to the polls. That would be a Debbie downer for Trump’s turnout.

    2. Moses Herzog

      Although I think donald trump has a much better chance at a 2nd term than the current surveys are showing, this is pure trolling by the Rickmeister. Although I’d be lying if I said he didn’t bring a grin to my face for pure consistency~~aside from just before trump got elected when Rick Stryker told us trump “wasn’t a Republican”—watch how quickly Rick jumps back to that narrative if donald trump loses. It won’t be a week before Rick hops back to his “donald trump wasn’t a real Republican” theme again once he’s certain the “trump is God” dog doesn’t hunt anymore.

      1. Barkley Rosser

        Wow, Moses, given that you emboldened “much better chance,” that did it for me Of course Trump has maybe even as high as a 60% chance of winning. Only foolish economists lost somewhere in the mountains and valleys of Virginia could possibly think otherwise, shame on them.

        1. pgl

          Some ask THE RICK if he is standing in line waiting for this dose of that magical virus. I hope he has Uber Eats bringing him food as he will be standing there for quite a while.

  4. ltr

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/22/opinion/coronavirus-masks.html

    October 22, 2020

    How Many Americans Will Ayn Rand Kill?
    Liberty doesn’t mean freedom to infect other people.
    By Paul Krugman

    A long time ago, in an America far, far away — actually just last spring — many conservatives dismissed Covid-19 as a New York problem. It’s true that in the first few months of the pandemic, the New York area, the port of entry for many infected visitors from Europe, was hit very hard. But the focus on New York also played into right-wing “American carnage” narratives about the evils of densely populated, diverse cities. Rural white states imagined themselves immune.

    But New York eventually controlled its viral surge, in large part via widespread mask-wearing, and at this point the “anarchist jurisdiction” is one of the safest places in the country. Despite a worrying uptick in some neighborhoods, especially in religious communities that have been flouting rules on social distancing, New York City’s positivity rate — the fraction of tests showing presence of the coronavirus — is only a bit over 1 percent.

    Even as New York contained its pandemic, however, the coronavirus surged out of control in other parts of the country. There was a deadly summer spike in much of the Sunbelt. And right now the virus is running wild in much of the Midwest; in particular, the most dangerous places in America may be the Dakotas.

    Last weekend North Dakota, which is averaging more than 700 new coronavirus cases every day, was down to only 17 available I.C.U. beds. South Dakota now has a terrifying 35 percent positivity rate. Deaths tend to lag behind infections and hospitalizations, but more people are already dying daily in the Dakotas than in New York State, which has 10 times their combined population. And there’s every reason to fear that things will get worse as cold weather forces people indoors and Covid-19 interacts with the flu season.

    But why does this keep happening? Why does America keep making the same mistakes?

    Donald Trump’s disastrous leadership is, of course, an important factor. But I also blame Ayn Rand — or, more generally, libertarianism gone bad, a misunderstanding of what freedom is all about.

    If you look at what Republican politicians are saying as the pandemic rips through their states, you see a lot of science denial. Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, has gone full Trump — questioning the usefulness of masks and encouraging potential super-spreader events. (The Sturgis motorcycle rally, which drew almost a half-million bikers to her state, may have played a key role in setting off the viral surge.)

    But you also see a lot of libertarian rhetoric — a lot of talk about “freedom” and “personal responsibility.” Even politicians willing to say that people should cover their faces and avoid indoor gatherings refuse to use their power to impose rules to that effect, insisting that it should be a matter of individual choice.

    Which is nonsense.

    Many things should be matters of individual choice. The government has no business dictating your cultural tastes, your faith or what you decide to do with other consenting adults.

    But refusing to wear a face covering during a pandemic, or insisting on mingling indoors with large groups, isn’t like following the church of your choice. It’s more like dumping raw sewage into a reservoir that supplies other people’s drinking water.

    Remarkably, many prominent figures still don’t seem to understand (or aren’t willing to understand) why we should be practicing social distancing. It’s not primarily about protecting ourselves — if it were, it would indeed be a personal choice. Instead, it’s about not endangering others. Wearing a mask may provide some protection to the wearer, but mostly it limits the chance that you’ll infect other people.

    Or to put it another way, irresponsible behavior right now is essentially a form of pollution. The only difference is in the level at which behavior needs to be changed. For the most part, controlling pollution involves regulating institutions — limiting sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants, requiring cars to have catalytic converters. Individual choices — paper versus plastic, walking instead of driving — aren’t completely irrelevant, but they have only a marginal effect.

    Controlling a pandemic, on the other hand, mainly requires that individuals change their behavior — covering their faces, refraining from hanging out in bars. But the principle is the same.

    Now, I know that some people are enraged by any suggestion that they should bear some inconvenience to protect the common good. Indeed, for reasons I don’t fully understand, the rage seems most intense when the inconvenience is trivial….

    1. pgl

      An excellent discussion. Krugman did not explicitly use the term externality but he gets it. These libertarians do not.

    2. Barkley Rosser

      In the latest issue of the journal I edit, Review of Behavioral Economics, the lead article is “Is Individualism Fatal in a Pandemic by Tank Prasad Neupane, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 207-222, 2020.

      Here is the abstract.

      “It has been reported but still not verified why COVID-19 infection transmitted differentially across societies. This paper intends to investigate the association of cultural orientation to the differential spread of present pandemic. Initially, Ordinary Least Squares estimation and subsequently a Two-Stage Least Squares analysis with Index of Historical Prevalence of Diseases as an Instrumental Variable is used to claim the findings. This study suggests that countries with higher individualistic values have significantly higher COVID-19 infections and vice versa. The results are robust even after controlling for a number of related counfounding factors such as density of population, percentage of urban population, uncertainty avoidance index, government effectiveness, political stability, voice and accountability, and rule of law. The results indicate human behavior is respoinsible for the differential spreading of COVID-19 infections across countries and hence provide a rationale to social distancing, government’s interventions, and adherence to group norms for containment of this pandemic.”

      1. Moses Herzog

        I keep forgetting to visit that journal. DAMN, I must have been over at your “Journal of Bloviating on Chinese Lab Scientists Near Wet Markets That Cause Pandemics”

        I never knew that well educated scientists located very near to wet markets were so sloppy in their work, until the septuagenarian in Harrisonburg and donald trump’s staff enlightened me. Well, I am here to “learn” after all.

        1. Barkley Rosser

          Oh, I forgot to put the closed quotation marks on the end of the article’s title. It is “Is Individualism Fatal in a Pandemic?” Sorry about that.

          For the record, the origin of the coronavirus in Wuhan and how it got to the wet market remains unknown, at least the last I checked. Nobody is discussing this issue now almost anywhere, since we shall probably never be able to solve the matter. But, somebody here seems to think that it is important and relevant to drag it up in a comment on a discussion of the role of individualism in the spread of COVID-19. If anybody here can explain why this is relevant, well, you are welcome to inform us.

      2. Barkley Rosser

        I almost never mention the journal I edit here, but thought this article relevant to ltr’s post.

        Given that it has come up and is getting mocked by the Usual Suspect, I note that still only in its seventh year, it is now in the top 12.5% of economics journals in terms of recursive discounted impact factor according to RePec. The long established, leading field journal that Menzie coedits is in the top 3% on that list, although I realize that this may mean nothing to some readers here.

        1. Moses Herzog

          We are ALL awestruck Junior. Not quite as awestruck as we were by your “no worse than negative 10%” prediction on 2020 2nd Quarter GDP, but still very awestruck. People always have to spend extra time marketing tonics that cure baldness. Here, let me help you Junior:

          https://youtu.be/IKXEmXB7h3E?t=8

          1. Barkley Rosser

            Moses,

            When are you going to finally admit that I correctly was the first non-Trump supporter here to call it that the initial recovery made for a V pattern that later flattened? I still have not seen you do so, although many people here have described it since as exactly that. You were still ridiculing me for that prediction well after pretty much everybody else here accepted that this was the pattern that happened. I was right but you were still out there making a fuss over some misguided garbage on your part, although you would not state what you thought the pattern would look like, denying that you had said it would look like an “L” after having made comments that looked like you were saying that.

            As for numbers, it was quite recently that you were again attempting to ridicule me for bringing up, in connection with that accurate V forecast, that consumption had risen at a record rate for a certain period. Menzie had to step in to correct you that indeed it did rise at a record rate then.

            Is it not about time you stopped wallowing in discussions of the second quarter, and if you insist on doing so, will you finally admit that despite repeated ridicule from you that I was right about the main pattern? Just how sick are you that you keep going on about this stuff?

          2. Moses Herzog

            @ Barkley Junior
            Your comment speaks largely for itself. I only stated once what I thought the recovery would look like as far as “the shape” of the recovery, and it was not an “L”. I never stated on this blog what I thought the shape of the recovery would be. That was in a private email I sent to someone who is probably reading this right now, that I sent that person on June 25th. That was a private email/discussion which shall remain private. That person is probably going to read this comment. That person (whom I have a great deal of respect and admiration for) knows my “call” on the recovery shape~~again, I sent that on June 25th. I’m relatively satisfied with what I said in that email~~~and if that person feels I am misrepresenting or misleading, I guess they can correct me.

          3. Barkley Rosser

            Moses,

            Wow, this is just getting weirder and weirder, given how out of date and irrelevant this all is. But you just keep piling whopper on whopper on here, all while still calling me names and otherwise somehow suggesting that I somehow messed up in some big way in discussing the pattern of the economy in the second quarter. You still somehow cannot admit I was right that it initially was a V that then flattened and that I was the first non-Trumpist here to see that and point it out, even though you lambasted and ridiculed me more times than I can count for this accurate call. When are you going to finally admit that you completely fucked up and apologize and then shut up about it?

            So now we have something really bizarre. You go around demanding that I make forecasts about the third quarter as you did of me for the second quarter, but somehow what you predicted as the pattern of the second quarter economy is a super duper secret that you only told one person in a secret email and there is somehow no way you can reveal what you said in that email or this person whom you actually respect might get all mad at you for doing so. Why on earth would they? Is this person crazier and more fucked up than you are? This is just out and out insane.

            And for the L call you made, it is pretty funny your denial of it. You denied it before when I mentioned it, and then Menzie of all people cited it. I understand that it was sort of vague and was more maybe about a past pattern, but it kind of looked like you were making it about what was coming. As it was I made numerous references to that, asking if that was what you were forecasting on several occasions when I replied to your insulting and stupid and wrong attacks on me for accurately forecasting a V pattern for a period of time. But you never would say what your super secret call was. I guess national security depended on it being kept secret.

            So, Moses, you had better tell us, and I am sure your wonderful and wise friend will forgive you for revealing this super duper secret: what was the shape you forecast? I challenge you to reveal it, and if you do not, you had simply never ever bring up this topic again.

          4. Moses Herzog

            All of these quotes are from Barkley Junior, except for the final one by commenter “AS”, who I would rank as probably one of the top 2 commenters (NO I do not include myself in the Top 2) of this blog. They include the links, so anyone can verify, or check the context.

            “But now it is clear this projection is too conservative. If instead we assume that the increase in June is twice what was forecast, the moves it up by 1,000 to 18,000;. That remains a net negative for the second quarter, but now of only 300. That comes to a measly quarterly decline of -1.6%.
            I do not know what that becomes annualized, but it is certainly not as negattive [sic] as a -20% annualized rate.”

            https://econbrowser.com/archives/2020/07/continued-recovery-in-june#comment-237996

            “ ’Possibility’ it might be as high as -20% for second quarter? It now looks like consumption is highly likely to be positive for the second quarter kills any chance of overall GDP growth for the second quarter being -20% or lower. Heck, I would be very surprised if it is lower than-10%.”
            https://econbrowser.com/archives/2020/06/gdp-nowcasts-june-26th#comment-237778

            “As it is, yes, Frankel is indeed on the list of ‘authorities’ I am challenging regarding these projections of a massive GDP decline in second quarter.”
            https://econbrowser.com/archives/2020/06/gdp-nowcasts-june-26th#comment-237929

            “I do not know whether US GDP growth for second quarter will be positive or negative, but as of now it looks to be a close call,”
            http://econbrowser.com/archives/2020/06/imf-world-economic-outlook-june-update-forecast#comment-237773

            Barkley Rosser June 19th
            “So it is highly likely that global GDP will exhibit positive GDP growth for the second quarter of 2020.”
            http://econbrowser.com/archives/2020/06/guest-contribution-defining-recessions-when-negative-growth-is-too-common-or-too-rare#comment-237553

            From commenter “AS” June 26th:
            “Hi Moses,
            As I recall, Barkley was the first and perhaps the only economist to say that we may have a positive 2020Q2 GDP, so I was trying to give credit to his comments which are far different from what the average of the forecasts by the various NowCasts.”

            http://econbrowser.com/archives/2020/06/imf-world-economic-outlook-june-update-forecast#comment-237756

            Folks….. two things. you might ask at this point. Question 1: Did Barkley Junior, after 3 decades working as a “mathematical economist” at a semi-respected but ill-named University “not know” that the number quoted by IHS, and the different Fed regions and quoted by Jeffrey Frankel, all of them un-camouflaged estimates of the BEA number itself, as apposed to, say, whatever number Larry Kudlow had made up, or some “Rt/R-naught” number the great epidemiologist Ron Vara had pulled out of his head…… did not know that BEA number was an SAAR tabulated number???

            And Question 2: Why a PhD who can manage to use his keyboard for many things, can never provide links to anything??~~~(thereby giving him the excuse of not being able to link back to his own continually badly sourced data, while also misattributing quotes, and falsely quoting peoples’ argumentative stances, and having the excuse that “I can’t do links” when he repeatedly misstates the opposing person’s argument in a way that flatters his argument.

            Nevermind Junior moving the football goal posts of Barkley’s own arguments….

            I am sure everyone here is tired of these. I can sure you, I am tired of them as well. And on the day that Junior stops making asinine statements like those enumerated above, that is the same day on which these back-and-forths will HAPPILY end.

          5. Barkley Rosser

            Moses,

            When I suggested we might see a positive GDP growth rate in second quarter I was making an error in how that is measured, which I later agreed was an error. It is measured effectively as an integral over one quarter compared to an integral over another quarter, or if you prefer, an average over all of one quarter compared to an average over the other. If I had known that was the measure, I would not have disputed that officially measured second quarter GDP would be lower than first quarter GDP, and by a healthy margin.

            I was mistakenly thinking that it was a comparison of what the situation is at the end of one quarter with what it is at the end of the next quarter. On that measure, I was right: GDP at end of second quarter was higher than it was at end of first quarter. I was wrong on the correct measure, which I readily agreed to when it was pointed out to me (not by you, Moses).

            Which leaves us with you still refusing to admit that I was right about the general pattern, an initial V followed by a flattening, a correct call you repeatedly ridiculed me about even after many people here noted I was right, and again, me being the first non-Trump supporter here to figure that out. When will you admit this, Moses, that I was the first out the door here to be right on this important point?

            You have also refused to reply to my challenge to reveal what your own call on the shape would be. You admit you made such a call, but in a secret email to a friend that somehow you think must not be made public, with your only apparent call being a could-not-be-more wrong “L” shape, although you now furiously deny that. But it remains, Moses, what was your call? I am sure your friend will forgive you for revealing the secret, and if you do not, you will again reveal yourself here for about the umpteenth time as being a total hypocrite.

          6. Moses Herzog

            @ Barkley Junior
            I’m certain after 30+ years as a “mathematical economist” people here are very accepting that you are not telling a very big LIE when you say you did not know that when the BEA, the Fed and Fed regions, IHS, and professional economists quote the headline number for quarterly GDP, they are 98% of the time discussing SAAR GDP. Everyone here accepts you are not LYING about that Junior.

            As a teacher of young people paying higher education tuition dollars with loans they may never repay, you set the example and would never tell A LIE, to rationalize getting your 2nd quarter GDP prediction off by 20% to 30% wrong. We all accept that Junior. On your “personal honesty”. We accept you didn’t know all those years that the headline numbers were SAAR. We do. As donald trump says “…… and everyone knows it”

            We ALL accept your word here on this blog Junior, and know exactly what it’s worth.

          7. Barkley Rosser

            Moses,

            I do not lie, a false charge you are again emboldening. I think you should be expelled from this blog for your ongoing libel.

            I make mistakes, and when it is pointed out I accept that I did, as I did yet again above. You continue to admit you were wrong that I was wrong about the shape of the GDP pattern earlier this year.

            And, for the umpteenth time you hypocritically continue to refuse to publicize what your own call was. What was it, Moses? Put up or shut up.

          8. Barkley Rosser

            Ooops! There I go again not doing proper proofreading. That should read “You continue to FAIL (added) to admit that you were wrong…”

    1. Barkley Rosser

      Jim clearly does not like to get into the middle of ongoing threads where there is a lot of political bashing back and forth. He makes his occasional posts, but they usually involve more apolitical technical matters.

  5. Paul Mathis

    Why does Blinder agree that increasing the deficit is a bad thing? Clearly, nothing bad has happened since deficits “exploded” a decade ago. In fact, everything economists thought would happen — higher inflation & interest rates and depreciation of the dollar — has not happened at all. Has nobody reconsidered what higher deficits actually do? Did the 50 year low unemployment rate in 2019 just magically happen? Would Keynes agree with Blinder on reducing the deficit now?

    Blinder also seems not to know about the filibuster rules in the Senate or the Paygo rules that Dems enacted in 2010 by statute. Both are huge roadblocks to any tax increase or infrastructure spending increase. I really hope that Joe does not reduce the deficit 75% like Obama did and that Dems get rid of the filibuster and ignore the Paygo rules. Joe has been around Washington a long time and I believe he knows what to do, but with advisors like Blinder — cutting the deficit and raising taxes in a recession as priorities — Joe will fail. Larry Summers and Christina Romer would be much better.

    1. Macroduck

      Your list of “Everything economists thought would happen” is not a list of what economists thought would happen. It is a list of what some economists thought would happen, maybe what “saltwater” economists told the public would happen. Your assertion misstates the facts.

      Blinder was, in fact, Vice Chairman of the Fed wjen the Fed undertook its Greenspan-era growth experiment. Blinder and Rivlin actively lobbied for that experiment. It’s simply wrong to hold Blinder accountable for the views you mistakenly attribute to economists in general.

      1. Paul Mathis

        Blinder has not changed his position materially since 2004 when he concluded:

        ” Under normal circumstances, monetary policy is a far better candidate for the stabilization job than fiscal policy. It
        should therefore take first chair. Nothing in this paper is intended to dispute this piece of conventional wisdom.

        That said, however, there will be occasional abnormal circumstances in which monetary policy can use a little help,
        or maybe a lot, in stimulating the economy—such as when recessions are extremely long and/or extremely
        deep, when nominal interest rates approach zero, or when significant weakness in aggregate demand arises abruptly.”
        https://www.princeton.edu/~ceps/workingpapers/100blinder.pdf

        Blinder has not advocated that Biden increase deficit spending on infrastructure or anything else. He is a monetarist, not a Keynesian economist.

  6. baffling

    interesting collection of state voting data
    https://electproject.github.io/Early-Vote-2020G/index.html

    i have commented here previously about texas. it will be an interesting state to watch this year and in the next election. the fascinating thing this year is that texas early voting has already captured over 70% of the total number of ballots cast in 2016. nationwide the trend for early voting (including absentee) has skewed democratic. these numbers should not give great confidence to republicans that they will continue to dominate the political landscape in texas this year. through the years, texas republicans have done a great job of voter suppression in democratic areas. but an early beating, lead by the trump candidacy, may end up discouraging many republicans in texas from going to the polls in person on election day. trump does not seem to be creating nearly as much excitement in texas in 2020 that he did in 2016.

  7. joseph

    Rick Stryker: “After all, the data are pretty clear that Donald Trump will be re-elected President of the United States.”

    What Megapixel Stryker means is that Trump is not going to gracefully concede the election despite overwhelming election results. Trump is going to have his Brooks Brothers lawyers contest the election results in every swing state to delay certification of the results for months. Then he’s counting on his new super-majority on the Supreme Court to hand him the election. It’s the 2000 election all over again. Maybe or maybe not.

    1. Macroduck

      The Supreme Court’s (that is to say, its Republican majority’s) excuse for taking up Bush v
      Gore was that the country could not afford a long period of uncertainty. That same reasoning would lead the court to refuse to consider cases which would drag out the vote count. The majority in the Bush ruling, however, said the Bush decision should not be used as a precedent in future cases. Today’s Court is almost certainly no more principled than the Court which decided Bush v. Gore.

      So, yeah, joseph, it don’t look good for an honest election.

    2. Barkley Rosser

      It looks like the two swing states where post-election lawsuits might succeed in messing up counting late-arrived mail ballots might be PA and WI, with the Barrett on the SCOTUS actually possible swinging it in Trump’s favor in at least PA. This does raise the bar somewhat for Biden as he cannot count on getting those states for the electoral college, even if he has the most votes, unless he manages to be ahead in either of them as of election night.

      So he will need probably two out of the next tier of swing states, assuming he gets MI where he seems far ahead: FL, NC, GA, AZ, OH, IA to nail it. Hopefully he will pull that off. Apparently both FL and NC will report final, or nearly final, results on election night. So if he wins both of them, that will probably be it. Heck, if he takes FL that will be it, although it looks closer than several of these and has gone frustrating against Dem candidates narrowly in the past.

      1. Barkley Rosser

        I almost did but did not, but now add TX to that list of swing states Biden could take to win while not being able to get PA or WI due to Trump lawsuits. As baffling has noted, and also happens to be the case with FL, if he takes only TX that will do it. Won’t need any others. But my guess is that TX is still further down the queue, so if he wins it, that will simply be part of a landslide with him taking quite a few of those others as well.

        No, it is not looking anywhere near 60% that Trump will win, although that possibility of lawsuits with Barrett on SCOTUS probably makes it more than 12%, even as what seems to be the likely top story for this final week of the campaign is rising coronavirus new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, with this the clearly top issue, and that just killing Trump’s chances. It will take something really dramatic and unforeseen to overcome that accelerating and ovetwhelming trend.

        1. baffling

          i have my doubts that trump can pull off the win. what i am increasing concerned about is his ability to leave the white house with a scorched earth policy for a couple of months. he is already laying the groundwork to fire a bunch of civil servants prior to leaving office. and it appears that he is willing to let the virus overwhelm the nation to prove a point that the virus does not really exist. these will result in massive cleanup jobs for biden. and trump will sit on the sidelines and blame biden for each of those cleanup problems. this is why you fire a guy and lead him out the door in the same hour, paying him a couple weeks salary to sit at home. disgruntled fired employees are problematic.

          1. 2slugbaits

            i have my doubts that trump can pull off the win.

            I hope you’re right, but you never want to overlook the fact that half the electorate has an IQ under 100. Voters are nitwits.

          2. baffling

            they may be nitwits, but i am optimistic that some of those nitwits realize trump pulled a major con job on them. hopefully just enough to change the outcome. there are a lot of coal miners, oil workers, farmers and manufacturers who realize they are worse off today than 4 years ago, because of trump. don’t need to convince them all. even rick stryker is rather quiet on the subject of trump.

            McConnell pulled a fast one on trump, by pushing through the supreme court justice. trump should have said he would nominate AFTER the election, to force his folks to get amped up and vote. McConnell got what he wanted from trump, and appears ready to cut his losses. i am sure he was concerned that if trump waited, and lost, he would nominate differently to spite those senators who now oppose him. trump could end up being pushed out the door poorer, and headed for jail.

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